A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:
just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34

This “new” commandment from Jesus was not new because we already knew we were supposed to love our neighbor as ourselves, right? Wrong, it is new because the followers of Jesus now had God in the flesh, the ultimate example of how to love your neighbor as yourself which followed the greatest commandment according to Jesus: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” See the sequence. Love God with all your heart, love your neighbor as yourself and love one another (fellow believers) just as Jesus loves you!

Jesus showed his followers nothing but grace, mercy and forgiveness, even to those who betrayed him. He modeled humility and true love while being the example of leadership and authority. This new command has a different standard. The old was based on how you love yourself, the new is based on how Jesus loves you. The new is a higher quality of love, a sacrificial love that always seeks the good of others.

Remember this all took place at the Last Supper. Jesus knew that the greatest gift he could leave with his disciples was the understanding that others would be drawn to Jesus after he was gone because their sacrificial love for each other could only come from a relationship with Jesus, even after he was gone. This was not a new suggestion, new idea, new option but a new commandment. Jesus is the pattern we live by but he is also the authority. We are no longer our own, we don’t get to call the shots. Our life is defined now by Jesus and what he wills, not what we want. He laid down his life for us, that is powerful love. We can receive that same power to love when we lay aside our pride and status, ask his forgiveness and become a servant like he was.

Philippians 2:7 says – rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Are there any areas in your life where you are still holding on to control? Have you completely surrendered to God’s authority? Ask him to reveal any area where he can help you love others the way he loves you–he wants to help.

Deb Hill

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